Former Jeopardy Contestant, Mr. Tim Klein, Reflects

Alex Trebek’s recent passing causes Central staff member to reminisce about his time on the show and his experience meeting Alex Trebek.


Mr. Tim Klein with Alex Trebek during his 2010 appearance on Jeopardy!

You’re in a convention center with hundreds of people. Each of them is competing for the same thing, each of them has the same goal in mind: making it onto the popular game show, Jeopardy.

This is what Mr. Tim Klein, an information systems support specialist at Hunterdon Central and a former contestant on the show, experienced when trying out. After making it on the show in 2010, he got to experience what it was like to be in the presence of Alex Trebek after watching him on his television for most of his life. Although there wasn’t much time for talking between the contestants and Alex Trebek during the game, he was still able to see how enthusiastic and kind Alex was.

For former contestants like Mr. Klein and many other Jeopardy fans in the world, the news of Alex Trebek’s passing was heartbreaking. 

Mr. Klein was always a fan of Jeopardy. “I remember my mom watching the older version when I was little,” he said. “My Freshman year of college, the whole floor of my dorm would watch and play.” He had grown up watching Alex Trebek, so for Mr. Klein being able to go on the show and meet him was a dream come true. 

While on the show, contestants didn’t have much time to speak to the game show host. “The contestants don’t get to interact with [Alex Trebek] much outside of the gameplay,” Klein said. However, he was still able to observe Trebek’s kind and genuine interactions with audience members, particularly children. During commercial breaks and other pauses in gameplay, Alex would answer questions and talk to members of the audience. 

Mr. Klein was also able to see Trebek before his time on the show at a book signing, located in a New York Barnes & Noble. Though he arrived late to the signing (so late that he was the very last one online), Trebek still set time aside to speak with him and hold an honest conversation regardless of the time limit. Comparing the experiences between those initial interactions and later, that between a contestant and host, Mr. Klein was still able to conclude that Trebek was an all-around authentic guy.

Even though it was late, [Alex] was still taking time to talk to us and answer questions.”

— Mr. Tim Klein, Information Systems Support Specialist

 Mr. Klein also recalled that once a contestant competed while diagnosed with cancer, saying, “She had cancer and she did very well– but her cancer got bad and she passed away a week before her episode aired. They knew she was getting worse so they sent her a DVD of her episode to watch with her family before she passed away.”

Even with Alex Trebek’s passing, Mr. Klein is still going to be interested in jeopardy/continue to watch it and is looking forward to who the new game host will be. “I want to see Ken Jennings, he’s probably my favorite player.”

With a monumental figure such as Alex Trebek unfortunately passing, it’s a given that both contestants and viewers alike would be severely disheartened– but Mr. Klein has kept a positive attitude, and looks forward to the new Jeopardy game show host.